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Basic Concepts For The Pistol

Offense

By James Vint
“If You Have A Systematic Way
To Teach An Offense, Your Kids
Will Have A Systematic Way Of
Learning The Offense”
Topics We Will Cover
• Formation Identification
• Motion Rules
• Inside Run Game
• Outside Run Plays
• Misdirection Game
• Play Action Passes
Why The Pistol?
• Allowed us to eliminate some tendencies with
our zone read game
• We could balance up and force defenses to do
the same
• We could run our entire option package!
• We could flip plays without flipping our running
back
• Allowed us to run our base two back offense
from the gun
• Created conflict within the defense
Our Base Formation

X Z
H Y

Q Our offensive line


A
will have 2 to 2.5
foot splits.

X and Z Align 12 to 15 yards outside the tackle.


Our H and Y align 5 to 7 yards outside the tackle.
Our QB aligns 3.5 yards behind the center.
Our A Back aligns 6 to 7 yards off the football.
Our Pistol Set Illustrated
Pistol Base (Wide)
Trips Set

X Z
Y H

In Trips, our Y lines up 2 yards outside our tackle, 1 yard off
the LOS.
Our H will align splitting the distance between the Z and the
Y, and he will also be one yard off the LOS.
We want our H and our Y to press the line of scrimmage. We
want them as tight as they can be without getting penalized.
Trips Z

X Z
Y H

Q
We move the X inside
to create a coverage
A
mismatch in a man
situation.

Our Z will line up on the line, 5 yards outside our Y.


Our H will line up 1 yard off the ball, 12 to 15 yards outside
the tackle.
Trips B (Bunch)

X Y

H Z
Q
We can widen or
tighten our bunch
A
alignment based on
the concept called.

Our Y will line up 2 yards outside the tackle on the LOS.


Our H will line up 1 yard off the ball, splitting the distance
between the tackle and the Y.
The Z will line up 1 yard outside Y, and 1 yard back.
Trips C (Closed)

Y Z

H X
Q
We can personnel to
bring our second TE
A
in the game.

Our Y will line up with a 3 foot split in a 3 pt. stance.


Our H will line up 2 yards outside our tackle to the trips side.
Our X will split the distance between the Z and the H.
The Z will line up 12 to 14 yards off the football.
Ace

X Y

H Z
Q
We can widen or
tighten our bunch
A
alignment based on
the concept called.

Our TE is lined up in a three point stance, 2.5 feet from


our tackle.
Our H lines up in his base alignment.
Ace Tight

X Y

H Z

Q
We sometimes will
take our Z out and
A
bring a 2nd TE into
the game.

Z and H line up 1x1 from the EMOL.


We can motion our Z back out, or across the formation
to create a coverage mismatch.
Navy

X Z

H Y

Q
We can personnel
A the Navy set for
different concepts.

Z and H line up 1x1 from the EMOL.


We can motion our Z back out, or across the formation
to create a coverage mismatch.
Navy B

X Z
H Y

Q
Compressed formations
A are great versus man
coverage.

Z and H line up 1x1 from the EMOL.


Our X and Z close down and line up 2 yards outside
the Y and H.
Queen

X Z
Y

H Q
In our 2 back look we
A will bring our F into the
game for our H at times.

The Y lines up in his base alignment.


The H lines up on the outside leg of our guard.
Queen alerts the H he will line up away from our Y.
King

X Z
Y

Q H

The Y lines up in his base alignment.


The H lines up on the outside leg of our guard.
King alerts the H he will line up on the same side as
our Y.
King Pro

X Y
Z

Q H
Pro alerts the TE he will
A line up on the LOS in our
King and Queen Sets.

The Y lines up in a 3 pt. stance 2.5 feet from our tackle.


The H lines up on the outside leg of our guard.
King alerts the H he will line up on the same side as
our Y.
Queen Pro

X Y
Z

H Q
Pro alerts the TE he will
A line up on the LOS in our
King and Queen Sets.

The Y lines up in a 3 pt. stance 2.5 feet from our tackle.


Queen alerts the H he will line up opposite the TE.
Queen C (Twins Closed)

Z Y

X
H Q
We will line up with our
A TE on line, and twins
opposite the TE.

Our #2 receiver is on line 6 yards from the tackle.


Our #1 receiver lines up 12 yards from the tackle and 1
yard off the ball.
King C (Twins Closed)

Y X

Z
H Q
King allows us to line up
A with a twins closed look.
Our FB is offset with the Y.

Our #2 receiver is on line 6 yards from the tackle.


Our #1 receiver lines up 12 yards from the tackle and 1
yard off the ball.
Queen B (Twins Closed)

Z Y

X
H Q
We will line up with our
A TE on line, and twins
opposite the TE.

Our Z lines up 2 yards outside the tackle.


Our X lines up 1x1 on the Z.
Our H lines up straddling the IS leg of the tackle.
King Pro Bunch

X Y
Z

Q H

A Bunch alerts the H he will


widen to straddle the
outside leg of our tackle.

The Y lines up in a 3 pt. stance 2.5 feet from our tackle.


Our Y lines up 1x1 on the TE.
Our H will widen his alignment.
Dover

X Y

Z H

Q Dover is a wing-t set we


can use to create 2 extra
A gaps for the defense to
defend.

We will usually personnel this with running back


coming in for the Z.
Dover Trade

Y X

Z H

Q
Dover Trade- Trades our
A X, Y, and tackle.

We will usually personnel this with another back


coming in for the Z.
Motion Concepts
• We use motion to gain an advantage at
the point of attack
• We want to remove a defender
• We want to gain leverage
• We want to change the strength
• We want to make a coverage
determination
Receiver Motion
• Zip- #1 into the formation
• Zap- #1 away from the formation
• Zoom- #1 across the formation
• Rip- Left IS Receiver across the formation
• Liz- Right IS Receiver across the formation
• Motor- Right IS WR motions out past the #1 WR
• Motel- Left IS WR motions out past the #1 WR
• Tom- Y shuffle motion to the play
• Ted- Y Shuffle motion away from the play
• Hop- H Shuffle motion to the play
• Hip- H Shuffle motion away from the play
• Jet- Motion to mesh with the QB as on Jet Sweep
RB Motion
• Hump- A Back to the TE
• Jump- A Back away from the TE
• Away- H (in the backfield) away from the TE
• To- H (In the backfield) to the TE
• Orbit- Motions our H or A back into the backfield
Adding Re to any motion brings the player back
Adding slow to any motion slows the player down
Example of Zip

X Y

H Z
Q

A The Z will motion into the


formation.

The ball will be snapped when the Z is 2 yards outside


the Y.
If we flip the formation, the X would be in motion.
Example of Zip

Y Z

X H
Q

A To the Right, the Z is in


motion.

The ball will be snapped when the X is 2 yards outside


the Y.
Example of Zip from King

X Y

Z
Q H

We can motion our Z back


to the formation from our
King Look as well.
Example of Motor

X Z

H Y
Q

A The Z will tighten his split

The Y will motion outside the Z.


If we called MOTEL, the H would motion outside the X.
The QB snaps the ball when the Y is 4 yards outside
the Z.
We are trying to create a match-up advantage.
Example of Zap

Y Z

X H
Q

A To the right, the Z will be


in motion.

The ball will be snapped when the X is 2 yards outside


the Y.
Example of Rip

X Z

H Y

A On Liz, the Y is in motion


form our base look.

The ball will be snapped when the H is 2 yards outside


the tackle.
Example of Rip From Trips

X Z

H Y
Q

A From Trips Left, the Y will


motion back to his normal
alignment.

If we are in trips right and want to motion back to our


base 2x2 look, the H would be in Liz motion.
Example of Jump

X Z

H Y
Q

A
The WR to the motion
side will close his split
down to 8 yards.

Hump tells the A back he will motion away from the Y.


Installing Our Inside Run Game
• Frontside Inside Zone
• Downhill Concept
• Trap
• Counter
• Power
Our Inside Zone and Variations
• 42-43 Inside (Traditional IS Zone)
• 42-43 Seal (Split Flow Zone)
• 42-43 Wash (Designed Cutback)
• 42-43 Custard (Backside Iso)
• 42-43 Inside Read (Reading Backside
End)
Inside Zone Rules
• Center: Playside A Gap (0)
• PSG: Playside B Gap (1)
• PST: Playside C Gap (2)
• BSG: Backside A Gap (1)
• BST: Backside B Gap (2)
• TE: Frontside D Gap #3
• H: Frontside #3 or #4 or Backside #3
• Our landmark is the playside Jersey number.
Inside Zone Count System
2
W M
3 1 1 2 3
E T T E S

Uncovered and Covered lineman will work combination


They will track the down lineman to the linebacker
We will make a solid call if everyone is covered
Inside Zone Count System
2
W M
3 1 1 2 3
E T T E S

C Identify Mike as 0, Combo with RG, combo 3 Tech to Mike

LG Covered, Listen for combo call, DT is 1, combo 1 tech to Will


LT Identify Will as 2, make combo call, combo 1 tech to Will

RG Identify 3 Tech as #1, listen for combo call, combo 1 tech to Mike

RT Covered by #2, make solo call, you have 2 to yourself


TE Covered by #3, make solo call as you and RT are covered
Inside Zone Numbering Versus Fronts
Zone To The Right
1 1 1 1
W M W M
3 2 0 2 3 3 2 0 2 3
E T T E S E T T E S

Double Eagle Eagle Weak


Inside Zone Numbering Versus Fronts
Zone To The Right
2 1 1
1 1
W M S
3 0 2 3 W M
3 2 0 2 3
E N E $ E T T E S

30 Stack
22 Stack Up

We number our stack by game plan. Whenever we face a stack defense, we


go back to our gap rules. We have our gap first.
Covered/Uncovered Zone Concept
M M

T T

This is an example of an The uncovered player must


Ace call on 42 IS. The RG have his eyes in his PSG.
is covered with a 3 tech, In the case above, the 3
and the Center is uncovered Tech slanted inside and the
with a man over. The RG Center has to pick him up.
and Center take their The RG sees him go away
playside zone step with and now works to the player
eyes to their gap. filling the B gap.

If the Mac were to step up to blitz, the Center would make a base call. This
would eliminate the Arizona call and put both lineman on a base block.
Handling Stunts
B
B B
L
E T T E

This is a two-on-two drill


working two offensive
lineman vs. a defensive This is our three on three drill we do a lot
lineman and a backer. This because of stacked fronts. We get head up
is a generic drill where we tackles that will slant. We work this drill with
will put guards with tackles the frontside, then the backside. We get
and centers with guards. our eyes up and this teaches the kids to be
We want this to be a game able to work an inside threat. We teach
speed drill once the initial patience in this drill and we follow a very
teaching is done. strict rule, “Don’t Chase Backers.”

You must work against


twists, slants, and loops!
Inside Zone Rules QB FW

QB will take the football through the 3rd hand,


open at 45 to the call side, and reach the ball
deep.
The QB is responsible for the handoff
reaching the navel of the running back.
The handoff must be 2 inches below the
sternum.
We tell the QB to step at 45 and roll it back.
The QB will boot fake after giving the football.
Inside Zone Rules TB Footwork

The Tailback will take a zone step to the


playside and ensure the QB secures the snap.
The tailback will rollover his outside foot and
make a deep soft pocket with his top palm out.
The tailback’s eyes are reading the flow of the
first frontside combo
We tell the TB to read A to B to go, but with
patience.
The tailback must burst to first daylight.
Our Inside Zone Play
2 0
3 W 1 M 1 2 3
E T T E S

• The Tailback Takes A Zone Step To The Play Side Keeping His
Shoulders Parallel To The LOS
• He Then Works Downhill At The Inside Hip Of The PST
• He Reads Inside To Outside, Looking For His Lane
• If The Mike Flows, Hit The A Gap, Then To B, Then To C
Oblique Play
1 1
2 M
3 W 0 2
E T T E

• We run this best to a backside 3 tech.


• The backside guard takes a hard zone step then works back and
seals the 3 tech.
• The tackle will pull around and lead up on the Will.
• Tailback is looking to roll this through the backside A gap.
• This is a great change-up.
The Downhill Concept
• Attack the A and B Gaps of the Defense
• Get the ball downhill quickly
• Allows us to be physical up front
• Takes advantage of read and react
defensive line
• Can be run versus any front
Downhill Concept Illustrated
W M
E T T E

We can have the QB fake


Q frontside or backside.

• Tailback takes a hard downhill step with his playside


foot.
• Her works downhill to the Void
• TB must be prepared to win a 1 on 1 battle with the LB
• OL can incorporate fold schemes to eliminate leverage!
42 Inside Combo BOB
2 0 2
3 W 1 M 1 S 3
E T T E

Coaching Point: Zone


Combos Are Designed
To Get Movement, But
You Must Have Four
Eyes On The Backer

• BOB Tells The H He Has The PSLB (Back on Backer)


• We Combo The 3 Tech To The Mike With 4 Eyes To Backer
• The BST Has #2 By Rule, and We Can Adjust Him To Stay
On 3 and Change The Double On The One To A Zone Combo
To The Will
Split Flow Zone
• One advantage of the pistol is being able
to run the split flow zone in a more
traditional matter.
• Our H has backside number 3 by rule.
• Because we are sealing the backside, we
have opened up a better chance for the
cutback.
• We can run the split flow zone from
multiple pistol formations.
Split Flow Zone
W M

E T T E S

The split key will slow the pursuit of the linebackers.


The fullback will be responsible for the backside C gap.
If the backside C gap play comes upfield, work to the
backside cutback player.
Creating Misdirection
• We can create false flow keys for the
linebackers.
• We can use misdirection with our Zone,
Counter, and Trap game.
• We can run multiple looks with essentially
one concept.
Fake Z Reverse
W M

E T T E S

We want the Z to hold the backside DE


The FB will read the flow of the end (Upfield or Squeeze)
The back is looking for our natural cutback lane
42 Inside Seal Fake Z PreSnap
42 IS Seal Fake Z
42 IS Seal (Mesh)

FB Should work upfield as


the DE is gaining depth
42 IS Seal (Burst)
33 Inside
W M

E T T E S

The QB will open up at a 45 and give the ball to the FB


with his left hand.
The QB and tail back will carry out their IS Zone action.
The FB will read the block on the 1st down defender to the
playside.
33 Inside Fake Z
W M

E T T E S

The QB will open up at a 45 and give the ball to the FB


with his left hand.
The QB and tail back will carry out their IS Zone action.
The Z must sprint as if he has the football!
Incorporating our TAZ Mesh
W M

E T T E S

Navy Rip 23 IS TAZ

We will open up and fake the ball to the A back. The QB
will reach the ball in front to the slot. The slot will work
inside the QB.
The offensive line blocks inside Zone left.
We can also give to the A back and fake to the 2 back.
Queen 42 Inside TAZ
W M S
E T T E

QB will utilize TAZ footwork.


He will ride the H, pivot, and give the ball to the A back.
The QB must sprint opposite after giving the football.
Incorporating the PAP of the Zone
• 42-43 Boot
• 42-43 Naked
• 42-43 Chip
• 42-43 XZ Go
• 42-43 Y Stick
King 142 Chip

W M

E T T E S

QB Reads X, TE, H
Queen 142 Lead Naked

S M W

E T T E

QB Reads X, Y, Z
King 142 XZ Go

W M

E T T E S

QB Reads Go to
Choice
Our Inside Read Game
• We will run our inside read and inside read
option concepts.
• We can run both concepts from a 1 and
two back set.
• We can read the backside or the frontside.
• Our Zone read with the H back is our base
play in the two back set.
32 Inside Read Option
R W M

E T T E S

The Offensive Line will execute their inside zone rules.


The TB will dropstep and get into pitch relationship
The QB will read the backside 5 tech for his give/keep
read. He will pitch off the next defender.
Pistol Orbit 42 IS Read Cowboy
R W M S
E T T E

H Y

The Offensive Line will execute their inside zone rules.


The TB will execute his backside mesh footwork.
The QB will read the backside 5 tech for his give/keep
read. He will pitch off the next defender.
Trips Left 42 IS Read Y Bubble
C W M S
R
E T T E
X Z
H Y

QB will read the end for his give/keep read


The Y will run a bubble path
The X and H will run a switch scheme if the R has
leverage.
Jet Sweep Series

• Jet Concept
• Jet Trap Concept
• Jet Speed Concept
• Jet Zone Concept
Navy 38 Jet Sweep (Crack Scheme)
F
C C
R W M $
E T T E

There are several variations to the jet that we can run.


From our base look, we crack with our wideout and put our pulling
guard and our A back on the first threat from the inside out.
Navy 12 Jet Trap (Influence)
F
C C
R W M $
E T T E

The QB will ride the jet back, pull the football and work through the
frontside A Gap.
We will influence on the front side. If the tackle widens, our BSG will
turn up and look to block first threat.
Navy 43 Jet Inside (Crack Scheme)
F
C C
R W M $
E T T E

The QB will ride the jet and give to the A back.


The frontside blocks jet and the backside blocks inside zone.
Navy Jet 19 Speed
R F
C C
W M $
E T T E

The QB will ride the jet and run a speed path out the back door.
We will block speed on the frontside.